New North Central vice president for student affairs, athletics excited to join 'elite institution'
With classes starting Wednesday at North Central College, Jessica Brown is ready to assist students any way she can.
The college's new vice president of student affairs and athletics, Brown was hired in June and began her duties on Aug. 11. She arrives at the Naperville campus after a seven-year stint at Eureka College in central Illinois, where last year she led the school's COVID-19 response team.
As she transitions to a new environment, Brown feels she's ready for the challenge.
"North Central College is an elite institution with a rich community," Brown said. "My goals and priorities are to ensure that all students are supported through two essential areas: athletics and student affairs. I am excited to assess and develop initiatives that will continue to support all of the college's students."
Brown, a Michigan native, earned a bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University and a master's degree from Concordia-Portland University. She's currently pursuing her doctorate in higher education administration through Illinois State University.
During her time at Eureka, Brown was the dean of student services, engagement and leadership, and also served as the college's Title IX coordinator and head women's volleyball coach. Brown believes her experience with athletics and general student affairs will serve her well in her roles at North Central College.
"Eureka College, Western Michigan University and several other professional opportunities have allowed me to lay a strong foundation," Brown said. "I am thankful for my time at Eureka College. I had to learn how to maximize resources, think outside the box and learned how to capitalize on having access to opportunities that often take individuals a little longer to obtain."
North Central College officials announced earlier this month that students, faculty and staff are expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 14. In addition, everyone must wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
Brown said she'll lean on last year's experience at Eureka College to guide her through the uncertainties of the coming school year.
"Leading during COVID-19 was an experience I will never forget," she said. "Learning how to pivot quickly was an hourly, daily, weekly, et cetera task that I truly believe prepared me for this role."